New Jersey Devils Slump Continues In Pittsburgh

The New Jersey Devils have yet again dropped a game and are well on their way to being passed by Buffalo despite that franchise losing a record number of games in a row. This game marked the eight straight loss and twelve of the last thirteen and the attention now is 100% on who is improving, still trying on the ice and the upcoming draft.

The Good

Nathan Bastian had two good chances and was inches from netting a goal which is a positive. Had his shot off the crossbar early in the game went in and tied it, perhaps the Devils could have made a night of it but that is just the way things have went all year. The whole line as usual did their job and should get plenty of opportunity the rest of the year which they will continue to show their worth. Hopefully this is temporary however and the organization knows what this line is which is an incredible fourth line or a pretty good third line. Giving them tons of time this year is great and on a shift by shift basis they are giving fans something but next year if this team is any good they will need to give them this level of production on closer to 12-13 minutes.

The Bad

The Devils again surrendered a goal right at the start of the game which is just no surprise at this point. It is hard to win playing behind all game and there is really not a lot else to say other than they need to wake up and stop making this mistake. Goaltending from all three has been suspect for to long and with 12 goals in 2 games a team isn’t getting any points. Hopefully Wedgewood gets the next few starts however as he has been the strongest outside the first dozen games of Blackwood.

Eight minutes into the second things had somewhat settled down at a respectable 2-1 but another bad goal was let in and quickly followed up by another on the very next shot. This was the end of the game and the team was deflated from here on with little push back. Without a solid performance this team just doesn’t have the firepower to come back on a normal night despite the previous games third period showing.

Matt Tennyson scored which was surprising and congratulations to him but the mistakes of the defender were just to obvious all game. On a two on one he played no one and left Rust open to rip it in easily.

The entire defense which at the start of the year was fine now has no depth and looks AHL quality at best with Severson and Murray being the only two who should be here, though they had a bad night as well. In the off season a big addition will be needed or this will just be a continued weak spot going on 9 years for the franchise.

The special teams in the off season obviously needs a 100% rework and tonight managed to let in a goal on the powerplay while the penalty kill got lucky only having to kill two minutes. They had virtually no control or chances on 8 minutes of time and this is a problem repeating itself over and over. No one is going to carry the puck in without a drop pass or two and the odds are in favor of the defenders stopping it at the blueline and dumping it down. Even if it doesn’t work right away telling the skilled players like Hughes or Bratt to just go for it could pay dividends over the continued failure to get in zone so hopefully it is something the coaching staff looks at.

Looking forward

With another match up early Saturday against the Penguins again followed by another mini series this time against Philadelphia expect a string of losses. The penguins have the skill and experience to deal with the young team while the Flyers have toughness, defense and are playing for their playoff lives. If the flyers can put up 3 wins they will be right their with the Rangers and have a shot to push for it even if it will be hard. They know it and the coach knows it so expect a huge push all game against the Devils who are playing only for pride and the bottom spot.